The police are doing nothing to stop the Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), an offshoot of Jamatud Dawa (JD), from seeking and collecting charity ahead of Eid even though the Jamat has been banned as a terrorist organisation and is forbidden to collect donations.
On August 5, the Interior Ministry issued a list of 25 banned organisations including the JD that are not allowed to collect donations. As in the past, the JD has been able to circumvent the ban simply by changing its name. The group is said to be a front for the Lashkar-i-Taiba, which is accused of carrying out the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.
The FIF camps fly the black-and-white striped JD flag and sport banners seeking aid for “the flood-affected and other needy people”. There are two FIF camps on The Mall, one at Dharampura, one at Moon Market Iqbal Town and one at Shadman Market, collecting money as well as donations of flour, rice and clothes.
The collection camps advertise a list of suggested donations for the flood-affected, including Rs4,000 to feed a family for one month, Rs50,000 to run a dispensary for one month, Rs700,000 for an ambulance, Rs50,000 for a one-day medical camp, Rs10,000 for a hand pump, Rs3,800 for a sewing machine, Rs3,000 for iftar, Rs100,000 to build one room, and Rs600,000 to Rs1.5 million for the construction of a mosque.
Sources in the JD said that the group’s leaders had unofficial permission from the Punjab government to set up these camps. “We’re not concerned about police raids,” said one JD member. “We’ve been running the camps all through Ramazan and they have been very successful. Ramazan is usually the best month for donations.”
Talha, an activist of the JD at one of the camps on The Mall, close to the office of the capital city police officer (CCPO), told The Express Tribune that they had never been stopped by the police from collecting donations, but volunteers had been instructed by senior JD members not to use loudspeakers or the JD name at the camps. He said they were collecting Rs100 per head as fitrana.
He said the FIF was a welfare organisation and it was entirely legal. “If people believe in the JD and given donations to the FIF, why should the police stop that? We are working for the welfare of the needy and to promote Islam,” he said.
Lahore Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Shaukat Abbas told The Express Tribune that the FIF was a legitimate organisation and not banned. “Its activities are under observation, but the police have not been instructed to stop it functioning,” he said. He agreed that the FIF was a JD offshoot.
JD chief Hafiz Saeed and his son Hafiz Talha Saeed have also been making speeches and collecting donations at Fajr gatherings at mosques in various parts of the city all during Ramazan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2011.
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